camera for trip question (iphone,p/s,mirrorless,DSLR)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by passingapple, May 3, 2015.

  1. passingapple macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2012
    Hello, ideally this question is for those who have/had owned various devices like an iphone (or other smartphones), point/shoot, and, mirrorless cameras from recent years (within last 2-3 years). I need to get a camera for upcoming oversea trips and look for some insights on choosing one.

    budget: under $800 (the cheaper the better, meaning I'd rather spend $300 if possible)
    what for: mainly for taking random photos while traveling. Nothing crazy/fancy, but something good enough (for casual amateur level) to capture scenes. FYI, I do own film cameras that I don't really use anymore like Rollei 35, so I'm not a complete newbie.

    Obviously iphone 6 has the small-form factor w/ other benefits like GPS, translators (huge+ for countries like non-EU, non-English countries), etc. and all in all probably the best for traveling if looking for just one device. But I don't need a smartphone (won't use it as a phone unless I travel under specific situations), cost (probably looking at $700 or $800 unlocked), 6s coming in about 4 months (probably can't wait until then though), and most importantly its relatively short life span compare to cameras compel me to look elsewhere.

    For smartphones, I don't think I'd get the older iphones (not even iphone 5s) as cost saving isn't that great ($50-100) and due to the aforementioned short life span issue. Ideally ipod touch would be great (significant saving), but I don't want to get 4-year old model and probably can't wait for the (questionable) rumored next ipod touch model even if it comes out towards the year-end this year. I'd even consider other unlocked android smartphones, but seem to cost about the same. And I think I might be able to get away from 16GB instead of 64GB by using it strictly for internet/GPS/app/camera and by frequently moving photos to my MBA, but I am not sure.

    So what I'd like to know is whether I would be better off getting point/shoot or mirrorless instead of iphone 6. I don't want to make this post much longer, so briefly,
    DSLR: probably out of my price range and an overkill for my purpose, not to mention having to carry it around. I'd like to have zoom features that are usable for a change and the better photo quality, but not at the expected cost.
    P/S: I had a $200 5mp point/shoot from 2002 that I used for years before losing a few years ago in Rome and it wasn't that bad (for my purpose), but not sure if it is worth getting another p/s nowadays.
    mirrorless: the lower tier ones with the basic lens seem to cost similarly to iphone 6 and I liked cameras like Sony nex 5N when it came out, but I didn't buy one. It's not exactly cheap and cost can add up real fast with mirrorless for case, flash, etc.

    Anyway there are many pros/cons in each, so it'd be really helpful if you can share your experiences and/or give me your opinions after using them. Thanks!
  2. kenoh macrumors demi-god


    Jul 18, 2008
    Glasgow, UK
    I travel with work alot. Not a pro photographer, but I like taking pictures . I have had DSLRs then went mirrorless. All along i have had a Sony RX100 MkI and now MKIII.

    It gives a good balance between image quality and portability in a small package that doesnt attract attention.

    Depending on your criteria, for random shots and not taking up too much space then I think this is a great option.

    If you want better image quality, then M43 or Sony NEX systems are ideal. Look at lens selections you will likely need and then choose based on that. Remember kit lens will be OK but not stellar.

    If you are OK with a fixed 35mm focal length then the Fuji X100/s/t is a popular and much loved choice.

  3. I7guy macrumors P6


    Nov 30, 2013
    Gotta be in it to win it
    If you are going to be taking random shots, then the camera in the iphone is more than sufficient. My last trip I bought my iphone and bulky dslr and lenses and captured everything I wanted. The iphone was the workhorse with capturing random shots that were well within it's capabilities.

    The dslr and bulky lenses provide a step up in quality with the ability to frame the subject using DOF.
  4. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2014
    Consider one of Canon's ELPH series. Plenty available used, or refurbished.

    They are rugged, zoom, decent video capability and small with decent ergonomics. The only downside I see is very limited headroom if you're doing a lot of post processing. They take good shots. Better than a lot of much more expensive Canon point and shoots I've been through.

    I have an old one, an iPhone 6 and a stable of Fuji X-Series and lenses. The little Canon still gets used. I paid $107 for a refurb'd SD1200is a few years ago. They are still available new for a bit less than $300.
  5. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I wouldn't go mirrorless or DSLR unless you have special needs, access to an exceptionally great deal, or intend to make photography a sorta hobby. I'd get something useful that can do more than a phone camera (zoom, better flash, various shooting modes, etc) and see if you like it. If so, then move on to more expensive kit.

    "Bridge" cameras were made for folks like yourself. Although somewhat less in image quality than the big boys, definitely better and more versatile than phone cameras. And they have many prosumer-type features, like RAW, various manual modes, etc. And they can take good to great pictures.

    Many are sold as travel cameras, or superzooms. I like the latter cuz they usually have viewfinders as well, great if you do a lot of outdoors stuff, and the big big zooms are great for wildlife. But a bit heavier and bulkier. Right now you can get a Canon SX50, eg, for under $200 US at the Canon refurb store; they have a Mother's Day coupon or something going. It would probably meet your needs without spending tons of money.
  6. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    ADding to the pool…. try renting a camera?

    or just use the iPhone. If space is an issue, you can try uploading to a Flickr account or maybe Dropbox.
  7. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    Good idea! My daughter had to go to SA with work, she had a good camera body so rented a Sigma 50-500 for the trip - very reasonably - and it made all the difference!
  8. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    I read the OP and thought RX100 Mk1/2/3 as well!
  9. kenoh macrumors demi-god


    Jul 18, 2008
    Glasgow, UK
    I am no expert but mine have never failed me and I can pop them in my bag/pocket along with a tiny pocket tripod and they are perfect certainly for my needs. Only bought the MK III for the EVF. Other than that, MK I is plenty good enough.

    I had one of my images from my RX blown up to 30"x26" recently and it looks fabulous (to me). So much so I spent a fortune getting it framed and now my wife's friend wants it for her house - very humbling.

    Point is, I think it is the perfect blend for someone who wants good pictures from an actual camera but has no desire to "get into" photography.

    It also has the right features and capabilities for those who try it and THEN "get into" photography... ;-)

    If I was to suggest a purchase right now, I would likely recommend the MKII as it has the best bang for buck. It doesnt have the pop up EVF but I find that a bit gimmicky TBH and unless you REALLY specifically want it, or the faster lens, then i would save the cash and get the MKII instead.

  10. willentrekin macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2013
    Over the past few years, in addition to my always-carried iPhone, I first owned a Canon s90 before upgrading to the Sony RX100 MK1. It was a noticeable upgrade in terms of both camera and picture quality, but still, even as pocketable as it was, I found I didn't use it as often as I might. I just didn't carry it around with me; I already had my iPhone, and even if the Sony pictures were better, the difference for me wasn't that noticeable.

    And then last December Amazon had a great deal on a Sony NEX5. I'd been thinking about upgrading for quite a while, and wanted a camera with wireless capabilities, so I took the plunge. Oddly, what made the difference in use was that it was less portable than my iPhone; it's a dedicated device that makes me think more about using it and how, and I very much liked that. So much so that, when Newegg offered a deal on refurbished a6000, I jumped. It's a little bigger, but the pictures it takes are amazing and it truly feels like the last camera I'll ever need. So much so I'll be selling my RX100 soon, because I just don't need it anymore.

    I'm on Flickr and Instagram if you want to take a look at some more recent images and compare.

    That refurbished deal, I managed to get the a6000 with the small powerzoom lens and a longer telephoto for under $700, which is a little higher than you wanted to spend but still within the extreme limit of your budget. Amazon usually has the NEX5 at a crazy reasonable price.
  11. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    I have a full frame DSLR and L lens's and but I am astounded at the quality you can get from the RX100..

    ...I have sold pictures I have taken with it, I have seen one picture I took on my rx100 as a lead picture on a story on the daily telegraph website.
  12. kenoh macrumors demi-god


    Jul 18, 2008
    Glasgow, UK
    That is impressive in its own right nevermind using the RX100 for it.

    I ditched my Canon and L glass over a year ago and went mirrorless Sony. Not wanting to start a debate but the A7 just fits my needs better - mainly increased portability therefore I use it more (hobbyist aspiring to be an enthusiast)...
  13. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    So did I. I've really gotten a lot of use out of my RX100 Mk 2. I leave the D810 and its lenses behind whenever I want to travel light, and I shoot RAW in the RX100, which I can easily slip in a (baggy) pocket.

    OP, if you're interested -- probably the main difference between the Mk 2 and the Mk 3 is the lens. The Mk 3 goes wider than the Mk 2, but then it doesn't go as long as the Mk 2.

    Every time I take that little sucker out, I'm glad I bought it.
  14. nburwell macrumors 601


    May 6, 2008
    I have to agree here. I would probably avoid DSLR's or mirrorless, unless you're able to find a really good deal on either or are looking for more manual control on your photos.

    I would tend to lean more toward using either your iPhone or a P&S camera. It does not seem like the OP is overly serious about photography, so I think the combination of the iPhone and a P&S would suit them perfectly fine. If you're looking into more manual controls over your images, then a DSLR or mirrorless would fit the bill, but it doesn't seem like you're interested in doing that.

    Canon, Nikon and Sony make some excellent P&S cameras and I'm sure most can be had for under $800.
  15. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I tend to agree that a decent point and shoot makes a great deal of sense as the results will almost always be superior (hardware-wise) than the iPhone and is small enough not to be too cumbersome. I think the iPhone is amazing for what it does but in the end, if one wanted to say get more image to either work with later or perhaps print bigger than a snapshot, a good P and S can't be beat (easily).
  16. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    These days, I would not buy a point and shoot. The iPhone 6 takes great photos, the 6 Plus also has some form of image stabilization and both offer immense versatility for sharing photos, communicating, maps, finding places to stay/eat, tracking flights, etc etc etc. this is a complete no brainer. :)

    If you don't already have an iPad, get the most affordable iPhone 6+ you can, new or used. Thank me later. :cool: :D :p
  17. FieldingMellish Suspended

    Jun 20, 2010
    The 6 plus impressed me the other day by my taking pix through a window of a train pulling out the station and resulting in sharp pics of the subject. Subject was a demolished residence that surprised me having spotted it as the train started moving on. I was resigned to blurry pics, but that was not the case.
  18. allisonv7 macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2004
    I picked up a Panasonic Lumix FZ200 a few months ago and I'm loving it:

    I have an iPhone 5s and Nikon D5100. I enjoy the Nikon and using my different lenses, but I needed something to take to events where I didn't want to mess with lenses, the Lumix I linked above has proved a great option for my needs.

    I'm not a big fan of the viewfinder on this camera, but that's the only drawback I've experienced so far.

    Let us know what you end up getting!
  19. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Almost 2 years ago I traveled to New York City for school training, I took my Canon SX30 IS and iPhone 4S/5S (Upgraded to 5S in New York)..also I took my iPad 2, too. I usually take SX30 for city places and festivals like in Manhattan and iPhone for school campus/classes. :apple:
  20. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    The iPhone is very nice for snapshots. What an iPhone can't do is match some of the better point and shoots with zoom lenses, better ISO range and potential for RAW files (if one wants). I find the iPhone particularly good for when I need fast access to image for documentation and don't have a camera available. I couldn't ask for better for having the potential to record an image always on my body (when I leave home). However, the point and shoot, mirrorless and DSLR consistently prove to be better choices for various types of vacation pictures beyond the snapshot of family members with a nice background.
  21. pika2000 macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    Only get an iPhone if you are looking to replace your current phone. Buying an iPhone just for the camera feature seems to be a waste of money imo. It is convenient to capture and share your pictures right away though. Many people are now expecting "instant" sharing from your vacation/trip. But for a standalone purchase (meaning you already have a phone), a standalone camera is a better route.

    Setting that aside, for travel cameras, consider what you want to enjoy during your travel. Do you want to relax and enjoy your trip, or do you want to lug around lenses and heavy DSLR with you. The latter might be relevant if your purpose of a trip is to do some serious photography.

    I was on a few trips recently. I have a Sony A7, an NEX, and the RX100. Guess which one won. The RX100. As compact mirrorless are, nothing beats the convenience of a point-n-shoot form factor, especially if you want to travel light. The RX100 gives me the best performance for its size. Image quality are excellent, it can capture in RAW, and it records excellent video as well. It's small enough that I don't need to lug around a separate camera bag. The only weakness if that it is not waterproof, might be a dealbreaker if your trip is going to have a lot of water activities.

    If you are a bit of expert in photography and can handle a larger sized camera, then a mirrorless micro-four-third and a compact prime lens are an excellent combo. In this case, look at the mirrorless cameras by olympus and panasonic, and look at their compact/pancake prime lenses. Downside of prime lenses is that you have to actually move to "zoom" in and out. I discounted the NEX since despite it having a light and compact body, its lenses are huge compared to the micro four-thirds.

    Personally, I prefer the RX100. It should be sold at a discount at this point so you will have spare money to buy other things (also get a Sony action cam if you want, or use that extra money to buy Adobe Photoshop Lightroom). If you can stretch your budget, consider the RX100 Mk3. It has faster lens and rotating LCD (great for those occasional selfie, and will show your friends a far superior selfie picture then their phone's front facing camera).
  22. dwig macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2015
    Key West FL

    #1 - DO NOT BUY A NEW CAMERA JUST BEFORE A TRIP. Plan ahead and buy the camera a month or so before you leave so that you have time to become familiar with it.

    #2 - Unless the purpose of the trip is primarily photography, do not get a DSLR. They are bulkier and their lenses are bigger than a mirrorless or premium P&S that delivers the same IQ.
  23. Notechy, May 18, 2015
    Last edited: May 19, 2015

    Notechy macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2015

    Agreed. And do not rely on a phone, partly due to next point.

    I regard a decent viewfinder as essential. After that, it becomes a trade off between image quality (especially in low light), zoom range, size and price. Taking account of these, my recent choice was a Panasonic FZ1000 to replace a 2-lens SLR. Get yourself off to off here to finalise your choice.

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